2022 Course and Concert

30 October 2022 - Cadogan Hall, London

Final rehearsals for the 2021 Concert Final rehearsals for the 2021 Concert

The highlight of our musical year is the annual Orchestra Course, which takes place over the October half-term. This comprises a five-day residential course during which an exciting programme of music will be rehearsed for a concert on the final afternoon. Recent venues have included Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Barbican and the South Bank Centre in London.

The 2022 concert will be held at Cadogan Hall on Sunday 30th October 2022. The course will be held during the half-term week, Wednesday 26th October to Sunday 30th October at Dame Alice Owen's School in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.

During the week, students work with our team of professional tutors and experienced mentors in a combination of full, sectional and individual rehearsals. We are grateful to have the use of excellent rehearsal facilities, including the purpose built Edward Guinness Hall.

Students are provided with regular refreshments and lunch. Residential students stay at a local residential centre and benefit from a cooked dinner and a wide range of organised evening activities. This year we are delighted to be returning to the Lincolnsfield Residential Centre.

Fees for the 2022 course: Course + Residential £420.00, Course only £200.00. Fees are payable on acceptance to the course.

Applications for 2022 are now open. See the how to apply page for more information. Admission is by online application and teacher recommendation. You need to be aged 13-18, Grade 8 standard or above.

2022 Programme

(Click titles for more details)

  • Edward Elgar - In the South (Alassio)

    In the South (Alassio) is a concert overture composed by Edward Elgar during a family holiday in Alassio, Italy in the winter of 1903/04. During the holiday, Elgar set himself the objective of composing a symphony to be performed the following year at the Royal Opera House for Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The inspiration for the symphony eluded him and he began to dismiss the idea of writing anything worthwhile during the holiday until an afternoon walk near Andora, on the Italian Riviera, gave him the idea of writing a shorter concert overture.

    The work contrasts the peaceful scene of a shepherd in the fields with the memories of conflict that had taken place in that “very spot long ago”. At 20 minutes long, it was the longest continuous piece that Elgar had written to that date and is scored for full symphony orchestra.

  • Sergei Rachmaninoff - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Soloist Gabriele Strata

    Sergei Rachmaninoff left Russia at the start of the Russian Revolution and lived most of his working life overseas including the last few decades of his life in self-exile in America. Rachmaninoff is best known for his music for piano and orchestra including the four piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The Rhapsody is a set of 24 variations based on the 24th of Niccolo Paganini’s Caprices for solo violin. Unlike his piano concertos, the Rhapsody is formed of just one movement without breaks which can be divided into three sections.

    Rachmaninoff wrote the work during a break in his European tour of 1934 at his summer villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. A noted performer in his own right, Rachmaninoff performed the solo at the premiere of the piece at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, USA. We are delighted to be joined by Gabriele Strata, a multi-award-winning pianist, as our soloist for Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

  • Igor Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring

    Igor Stravinsky was born near Saint Petersburg and like Rachmaninoff, lived most of his life outside of Russia, gaining French and then American citizenship later in life. His father was an opera singer in the Kyiv Opera, and Stravinsky’s happiest times were spent at the house that he designed and built in Ustilug on the Polish border of north-eastern Ukraine. In 1910, Stravinsky met the owner of the Paris based Ballet Russes, Sergei Diaghilev, and together they conceived of a number of ballets including The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. It was in Ustilug that Stravinsky composed the first two parts of the Rite of Spring: “Augurs of Spring” and “Spring Rounds”.

    It is for the Rite of Spring that Stravinsky is most known. Based on an original idea by Nicholas Roerich, the ballet features a number of primitive pagan rituals celebrating the coming of spring, during which a young girl is sacrificed to the sun god Yarilo by dancing herself to death. The combination of this distasteful subject matter together with the unconventional music and choreography created the infamous “near-riot” at the opening performance in 1913. Stravinsky’s music experiments with rhythm, metre, tonality and dissonance and is scored for one of the largest ballet orchestras known. The orchestration includes large woodwind and brass sections adding two piccolos, two cor anglais, two contrabassoons, two bass clarinets, alto flute and two Wagner tubas to the usual symphony orchestra.

Whilst the programme details are published in good faith, the ESO reserves the right to make any necessary changes to repertoire and artists if circumstances require. Such changes shall not be deemed as sufficient reason for any player to withdraw from the course. Refunds of fees are only made if the course does not run.